November 26, 2006
How to Create an Effective Product Data Sheet
A product data sheet is a document that goes into a high level of detail about the functioning of the product. A product data sheet can be used for all types of consumer goods, but they are particularly vital for technical products such as computer components, electronic parts and devices, and other products that are technical in nature. Designing an effective product data sheet is a balancing act between readability and information density.
The first thing to consider when designing a product data sheet is the layout of the document to be used. The most common layout used for product data sheets is a two sectional functional placement layout. In this type of product data sheet layout, the first section, which can span multiple pages, describes the product in great detail. Typically, this section has paragraphs that function to provide a technical product overview, the advantages of this product over its competitors, and sample use cases. The first section of the product data sheet will typically include some hard numbers and may also use graphics as well as charts and graphs to enhance the written information. The second part of the product data sheet is a complete listing of all necessary technical specifications. This section is usually presented in a tabular format and contains everything from performance data to input and output formats as well as environmental tolerances.
A product data sheet provides the second level of customer contact. It is important to design the product data sheet so that it conveys the information in a readable manner. A good product data sheet could mean the difference between winning or losing a sale.